Your Guide to growing & buying Tropical Plants for UK Gardens

So you want to grow tropical plants in your UK garden, but don’t know where to start? Trying to find a list of reputable suppliers of tropical plants to buy in a sea of a million options? We can help. We have 20+ years experience growing exotic and tropical plants here in Norfolk so can help you navigate this exciting growing niche of gardening. We will show you how to grow tropical plants successfully in the UK. Learn, Buy and Grow with us, and hopefully get your garden looking fabulous before you know it!

Buy Tropical Plants

Musa Basjoo in July in the UK

Musa Basjoo in July in the UK

LEARN: Starting Your Own Tropical Garden

Can you have a tropical garden in the UK?

Yes! You can have a tropical garden in the UK, of course you can, but you have to realise there are some limitations and extra things you need to do to get the best looking tropical garden and best compatible tropical plants that will grow (or tolerate) temperate climates such as in the UK.

Yes you can get your hands on almost any tropical plant you can think of these days, but even if you do get it do you even know how well it’s going to survive in your own garden? We can help!

If you want a true tropical rainforest effect in your garden it is going to require much planning and great plant selection, it can be done, but don’t underestimate the time you need to make it a reality.

Can you grow tropical plants in the UK?

Yes, of course you can grow tropical plants in the UK. They won’t grow the same speed, or as big, or as lush as when grown in their native environment, but you can still get 99% of the enjoyment growing tropical plants in the the UK. 

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Choose the right plants for the right spot, get the right growing conditions nailed and you can expect a truly magical feel when the plants get established. 

It still never gets old when people walk into my own garden and totally awestruck at the size of the banana plants towering overhead. Learn, try, grow, try again, it all takes time and effort and a great deal of luck and knowing what to plant with what for best effect. 

Now more than ever we have access to more plants, more information online about how to keep those plants alive, compounding as more and more people share their own tips like what worked for them. 

Trawl the internet, trawl the facebook groups and get the info you need. It’s (mostly) all out there for the kinds of plants you’re likely to choose when you’re getting started. 

It is possible to create an incredible tropical garden in the UK, and I totally advise you to get started on it today. Hopefully we have enough information here to help nudge you in the right direction. 

How to make a tropical garden

Get up to speed with the following easy steps for planning a tropical garden.

How to care for tropical plants, how do you get them so big?

Contrary to popular belief, tropical plants do not always thrive with direct sunlight because in their natural habitat they can be protected by the leaves of the larger plants, however in the UK most need as much of our weak sunshine as they can get! READ: How much sun do tropical plants need?

Most tropical plants survive in the same environments that humans survive, so once they get the right temperature, they are relatively low-maintenance. The easiest part of taking care of tropical plants and tropical trees is that they communicate their needs. 

Here are some basic tips to take care of tropical plants in your home and around your garden to make them grow BIG and more jungle like

Water your plants!

I know this sounds ridiculously basic and obvious but you’d be surprised how little people water their plants through the summer months. Some of the plants you want to are tropical by nature, and often don’t know how to deal with extended dry periods. 

Get out in the garden and make sure you’re hitting the right watering requirements for your plants. “How do you grow your Musa Basjoo plants as big as you do?” Easy. I give them the water they want!

Indoor Tropical Plants can be a bit more delicate though. 

  • It is important to keep your plants moist by watering them regularly but not wet. It is advisable to let the soil dry out between watering periods to keep the roots of the plants healthy and ensure that the plant grows evenly. 
  • Do not leave the soil around your indoor plants to dry out for too long because it can damage the roots of the plants and eventually lead to the plant’s death. If the soil around your plant is cracked then it is a sign that your plant is dehydrated and in need of water.
  • Don’t wait for the leaves of your plant to start wilting before watering it. This stresses the plants and damages the root and leaves of the plant. Overwatering will cause as much harm as underwatering and is the number one killer of tropical house plants. It also allows fungus and bacteria to find their way into the soil.

Light & position requirements for tropical plants

If the plant has a sticker on it that suggests it needs bright light, do that, if it suggests shade… do that too. You’ll be surprised by the number of people losing love for gardening as everything dies around them due to bad position or planting in non ideal spots. Read the label! 

Light is as important as water when growing a healthy plant. The light requirement differs depending on the type of plant. Most plants require a steady amount of sunlight, but few require direct sunlight so for a house plant, you can consider placing it close to an open window where the sunlight will reach it or supplement the sunlight with an artificial growth light. READ: Do you know the difference between monoecious, dioecious, and polygamous plants?

Temperature and Humidity is critical for tropical plants

Keep your tender tropical plant somewhere warm through the winter, and only plant in the ground towards the end of May (in the UK), this reduces the chances of getting killed by frosts which will set your plants back terribly! 

For indoor tropical plants it is even more important. This is a key aspect to take note of when growing indoor tropical plants. Creating an environment in your home that imitates the natural habitat of these plants in terms of temperature and humidity is required for tropical plants to thrive. 

During cold seasons, it may be harder to achieve this level of humidity so you can supplement with a plant humidifier, or just a regular mist.

Dicksonia antarctica

Dicksonia antarctica

Tropical Plants for UK Gardens

We have a guide here: 20 Hardy tropical plants that are easy to grow for your UK tropical garden which is a great place to start if you are new to tropical plants that can grow in the UK climate without much winter fuss!

What are tropical plants?

Tropical plants give us a true sense of the diverse features of tropical forests. Different tropical plants exhibit exaggerated appearances from their mysterious orchid flowers to their hairy fronds, and their glossy leaves.

Tropical climates can be found all around Africa, South America, and some parts of Asia. They are characterised by high temperatures usually exceeding 20 degrees Celsius, no snow or frost days, and a humid environment. 

Also, tropical climates are the traditional home of tropical rainforest plants. Although they are generally growing in a tropical climate, tropical plants have evolved to be adaptable plants that can survive in diverse climates. 

Tropical plants are a popular option for UK landscape designers because they add an exotic aesthetically pleasing touch to your environment regardless of whether you live in the tropics or a colder region.

Tropical plants are plants that are native to tropical regions.

What plants go in a tropical garden?

Some of the most common plants you will find in a tropical garden are; Trachycarpus fortunei (Chusan palm), Dicksonia antarctica (soft-tree fern), Chamaerops humilis (dwarf fan palm), Carex Comans (bronze New Zealand hair sedge), Dryopteris filix-mas (male fern), Hosta (plantain lily), Cordyline australis (cabbage palm), Athyrium (lady fern) ‘Ghost’.

When selecting your tropical plants before you buy, please make sure you read the detailed information about the plant, as depending on the hardiness rating will depend on the effort you need to get it through the winter. 

You can add wonderful shape and colour to your garden with the addition of tropical plants, most of these plants require no more effort than the rest of your plants, but regular watering and feeding never goes unnoticed! Often with a great deal of tropical plants the more water and food you give them the bigger they get!

Best tropical plants for UK Gardens

We have a guide here: 20 Hardy tropical plants that are easy to grow for your UK tropical garden which is a great place to start if you are new to tropical plants that can grow in the UK climate without much winter fuss!

BUY: Tropical Plants for sale

Buying tropical plants can be daunting if you have not really grown tropical plants before, but fear not, most of the plants we have listed on this site are perfectly suitable for growing in your garden in the UK. Some plants require more protection than others through the winter, but most of the time it’s quite straightforward. Have a look here for the most common tropical plants that are bought for UK gardens. 

We have articles, grow guides and links to some of the best places to buy tropical plants in the UK. Here’s a little list of some of the more popular plants to buy:


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Bamboos and Bamboo Plants, Ornamental Grasses, Tree Ferns & Fern like plants, Palms & Palm Trees, Canna Plants, Banana Plants, HostasPhormiums, Olive Trees, Cycads, Gingers & Hedychium, Alocasia, Brugmansia, Fatsia, GunneraPittosporum, Colocasia, Eucomis, Cordylines, Acer Japanese Maple and many others. Or view the full list of tropical plants for sale here!

Cheap tropical plants for sale online

Phormium tenax

Phormium tenax

We understand that any hobby can get expensive and there is always a point where you might have to get a little cost conscious. This is just the same in the gardening world, and it’s easy to get carried away (Which is one of the sheer joys of gardening we think!) so we have found all kinds of cheap tropical plants for sale online that you can buy in the UK and I think some of our suppliers even offer worldwide postage with the right documents. 

Our site directs to some the best suppliers of tropical plants in the UK, and each place usually carries a great stock level and great choice of plants. 

Buy Tropical plants in the UK today! Have a look around this website for some of the best cheap tropical plants for sale in the UK, that can be delivered straight to your door ready for planting out as soon as possible. We have a great selection of tropical plants available from lots of UK based sellers.

We try and list just as many cheap tropical plants and special offers as we can, as well some of the other plants that just don’t get discounted much too. Recently we had a great offer of loads on seeds – growing from seed is by far the cheapest way to buy tropical plants and if you have a little more time and love to put in, the rewards can be quite amazing.

One plant that is always great value is the humble Musa Basjoo a cheap plant to buy, especially as a pup, that just keeps on growing year on year, and never seems to stop.

Other cheap and great tropical plants to buy would be one of the many canna plants – easily grow from tubers or seeds, and provide a cheap, bulky and colourful backdrop to your tropical garden. Have a look at some of our top Cannas Plants here.

The joy of having a tropical garden is that there are no hard and fast rules to what constitutes ‘tropical’, so just get in the garden and plant what you like – the bigger and bolder the better!

Buy Hardy Tropical Plants

If you are new to this style of gardening, look no further than out handy guide to the top 20 hardy tropical plants for UK gardens, this will give you a primer into the more common choices and hardy plants that can form the backbone of your garden. Once you have had a look at that list of hardy plants, have a look here at the full range of tropical plants for sale here.

Buy Outdoor Tropical Plants

Every plant I grow spends at least some of the time outdoors during the summer, and most get planted also rather than left in their pots. We have a big list of outdoor tropical plants for sale which you can find here, but realistically everything can be grown outside in the summer. The variables are whether the plant needs to be brought in during the winter, overwintered somewhere warm like a heated greenhouse or heated poly tunnel. 

Have a read of our 20 best hardy tropical plants for sale article, or head straight for the main tropical plants for sale by category page.

Bamboos and Bamboo Plants, Ornamental Grasses, Tree Ferns & Fern like plants, Palms & Palm Trees, Canna Plants, Banana Plants, HostasPhormiums, Olive Trees, Cycads, Gingers & Hedychium, Alocasia, Brugmansia, Fatsia, GunneraPittosporum, Colocasia, Eucomis, Cordylines, Acer Japanese Maple and many others.

Or view the full list of tropical plants for sale here!